Member Spotlight: Eiko Yamashita

I first came to Edinburgh Printmakers in September 2002. I was an MA Student who received funding to research and write a report about water based non-toxic print making methods. My tutor at Wimbledon College of Art recommended that I come to visit Edinburgh Printmakers as EP was very active about introducing, implementing, and inventing less toxic printmaking methods. I came to meet Alfonse, the print technician at the time, and joined the workshop, which was an inspiring experience. I have been a member ever since, though I have two children, so I do not always have time to come to the studio.
There are several reasons that art is important to me. Art has an aspect of transmuting sadness and desperation into something beautiful, and when it's successful it becomes a universal language which connects you to other people beyond culture, gender, and religion. I'm living in a place far away from my own country and sometimes struggle to make people understand who I am and who are the people who look at me through their own filter. When I'm making art I'm free from all these worries. Also there's always space to improve, I can improve my artwork until the minute I die. As long as I'm creating artwork there’s no need to be hopeless.
I fell in love with etching when I was 19 and it’s still my favourite printmaking process. Scratching, filing and polishing the copper plates are the best parts of the printmaking process, so that sometimes I even forgot about finishing them, I have lots of unfinished copper plates sitting for decades, I should finish them some point. I started as a painter and I am still painting occasionally, however printmaking is more suited to me as I feel comfortable to express through the process of producing the plates, rather than painting directly on the canvas or panel. Also I love the fine line of etching, which I can't achieve with oil/acrylic paint.
Many of my artworks depict human figures. I always find objects to depict nearby, creating artwork from my own experience. I avoid being pretentious, and am honest about my feelings and the interpretation of my own emotions. During the period I was busy with parenting, my artworks were  a lot to do with the events of my children. I felt the time with my children was warm and protected, but at the same time I had difficulty coping with the overwhelmingly busy and stressful time.
 I'm still in the process of finding the right expression. Last couple of years I've been hanging Edward Hopper’s calendar, always amazed by the way that some of his artworks express strong feeling of loneliness and uncertainty without sad faces or tears. Ultimately I think this is what the great artwork can achieve and feel that I still have lots to learn/practice.

6 Apr 2022
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